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Matudinal Breviary for the Winter Season; decorated medieval manuscript on paper
DECORATED MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT IN LATIN ON PAPER, Western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia?) or the Netherlands, c. 1455-1470. 144 x 106 mm. 149 folios on paper, preceded and followed by single parchment flyleaves, watermarks in Piccard and Briquet, complete (collation, i-iv12 v12 [-8 and 9, stubs remaining, with bifolium tipped onto these stubs] vi12 [4 and 8 tipped onto stubs whose conjugates are blank] vii18 [of 16, two slips sewn in] viii-xi12 xii13 [of 12, singleton sewn in]), traces of quire signatures and catchwords, written in long lines in as many as five different Gothic cursive or hybrida hands (justification, 103-107 x 66-70 mm.), guide letters, notes to the rubricator (mostly cropped), rubrics written or underlned in red, capitals touched in red, 1- to 3-line red initials, larger initial "I" on f. 118v. BINDING: Contemporary binding of calf, blind-tooled with two concentric double-fillet rectangular frames, blind-stamped with circular stamps with paschal lambs or fleurs-de-lis, all over wooden boards, spine with three raised double bands, intact brass fore-edge clasp fastening back to front, paper label on spine inscribed "780" in dark brown ink, pastedowns and endleaves formed from two parchment leaves from a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century Antiphonary with Hufnagel notations on four-line staves, rotated and folded into bifolia. TEXT: Breviaries contain the complete text of the Divine Office, prayers said throughout the day and night by religious communities and priests at the Offices of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. This diminutive volume, however, only includes the prayers and readings for Matins, and therefore could be called a Matudinal (a Nocturnal also includes the night Office of Vespers). Its owner would also have made use of a Nocturnal and Diurnal, a volume containing the texts for the day Offices. Matins, the night Office recited in the dark hours following midnight, is the longest of the Divine Hours, including Psalms with antiphons, responsories, and other chants, along with a varying number of readings, or lections, from the Bible and patristic authors. The number of lections with each nocturn (three rather than four) suggests that this Breviary was intended for use within a secular context rather than a monastic one. Since this volume contains the texts for the night Office during the winter season only, it was likely part of a two-volume set, the other of which would have contained the corresponding texts for the summer season, as well, perhaps, as the Common of Saints. A small and carefully emended volume, this Breviary was certainly made for personal use by a friar or canon, rather than for public reading. Its careful corrections and annotations warrant further examination for what they reveal about the needs of its earliest users. Matudinals are less common than complete Breviaries. PROVENANCE: Although the absence of a calendar and any regionally significant saints in the Sanctorale rule out localization based on internal evidence, the evidence of watermark, script, and decoration suggests that this manuscript was produced around 1455-1470, most probably in western Germany, in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, or the Netherlands. Heavy corrections in several hands, including scribal cancellations, corrections, and additions. Evidence of binding stamps may indicate that this manuscript was bound shortly after its creation, likely in eastern Germany. CONDITION: Some worming in binding boards and pastedowns, some wear to the binding, with a split in the leather along the upper joing and slight loosening of the book block, f. 72 mostly trimmed and patched with paper, some smudging and soiling from use in the lower outer margin, particularly on ff. 1 and 73, very slight worming on the initial and final leaves, but otherwise in fine condition. Full description and photographs available (TM 790).
      [Bookseller: Les Enluminures ]
Last Found On: 2016-12-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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